A recent study suggests that physically active but overweight children may be more physically fit than their sedentary peers.
The study, published recently in Journal of Sport Sciences, is part of the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) Study, conducted at the University of Eastern Finland in collaboration with the University of Cambridge and the University of Jyväskylä.
High body adiposity, low physical activity, and particularly their combination are related to poorer physical fitness among 6- to 8-year-old children, the study notes, according to a media release from University of Eastern Finland.
The results were obtained via an investigation of the association between body fat percentage and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity with neuromuscular fitness among 404 children aged 6 to 8 years. The children performed 50 m shuttle run, 15 m sprint run, hand grip strength, standing long jump, sit-up, balance, manual dexterity, and sit-and-reach tests, and the results were used as measures of physical fitness, per the release.
Higher body fat percentage was associated with slower 50 m shuttle run and 15 m sprint times, shorter distance jumped in standing long jump test, fewer sit-ups, more errors in balance test, and less cubes moved in box-and-block test. Higher levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were related to faster 50 m shuttle run and 15 m sprint times.
In addition, children who had a combination of a higher body fat percentage and lower levels of physical activity had the poorest performance in 50 m shuttle run, 15 m sprint run, and standing long jump tests, the release explains.
Researchers conclude that a higher body fat percentage but also lower levels of physical activity were related to poorer neuromuscular fitness in children. Also, they conclude that higher levels of physical activity were related to better fitness levels in children with higher levels of body adiposity.
These findings emphasize preventing children from becoming overweight and, in particular, increasing their amount of physical activity, to prevent impaired neuromuscular performance, according to the release.
[Source(s): University of Eastern Finland]